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Need some information from seasoned travellers

Travel Forums General Talk Need some information from seasoned travellers

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1. Posted by Matty_coyote (Budding Member 3 posts) 46w

Im going to get straight into it.

How does one travel? i hear about people who 'spend 6 months in (exotic destination) my question is how do you do it? do you book a flight then hostel for a week then hope for the best afterwards? The idea i have in my head is you buy flights then the between time your at the mercy of the country your in?... please advice further

Matt

2. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member 335 posts) 46w

Yep that's pretty much it. :-)

There are different approaches. I usually only have a short time away from work so I preplan everything - prebooking all accommodation from home and researching what I want to see and do, then there's an initial plan which can switch around depending on weather and energy levels.

But that only works for a week or two. For longer, you may have a more rough outline. You may need some preplanning because of flights, although a RTW ticket usually allows date changes. And you'd usually have a to-do list of your major objectives, and fill in the rest of the time with random or ad hoc things.

Perhaps you'd make plans for the week or destination ahead, then as you get to the end of that you spend some time in the hostel on the internet firming up your next section. Some people would then book accommodation in the next place, maybe the first night only, others would do it on arrival.

A lot depends on your pace.

Does that help? :-)

3. Posted by Dodger (Respected Member 860 posts) 46w

There seems to be two main camps for long term travel.

The first that book their flights in advance and set out a plan of where and when they will be going.

The second that book maybe the main flight out and main flight back, and then as you say fill in everything as they go.

Both have their good and bad points. In the first, you can usually get better prices on flights, but are then stuck to leaving and arriving tied to those flights. In the second, you can sometimes be left spending more than you'd wanted on flights, or not being able to get flights at all, but they have the freedom to go when and where they please, making their travel plans as they go. There is also a problem in the second instance that sometimes countries require proof of outbound travel. A lot of airlines wont even allow you to fly to those countries without proof of outbound travel. Another problem with the second instance is you start spending your holiday time trying to book flights and figure out where to go.

I did a totally planned out flight trip once and hated it. I was always finding places Id like to stay longer in, or other places I wanted to go, but had no time for. So now I usually do a mix of both, with a few planned flights and lots of spaces in between to make decisions on the fly. I do a lot of research on the places I'm going, or want to go, so I know the immigration policies before hand.

4. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 814 posts) 46w

Everyone travels differently, and like the other's have said, for me it depends on how long I'm traveling.
I've had my share of short trips (week or two) where I've booked most hotels, and had a pretty good idea how and when I was getting around, and what I planned to see. I'm not a fan of traveling this way for two reasons - I have less freedom, and I miss the sense of adventure of planning as I go. But when you have a limited time, and really want to see as much as you can, it's kind of necessary.

For a trip that is 3 weeks or a little more, I plan much less. I might book my first nights hotel, and have a general idea of a route that I want to take, and what I want to see. But I tend to go with the flow a bit more and am willing to change plans last minute.

When I go on a trip that is a month or more (rare these days), I barely plan anything. I do some research to find out what cities and sites I might like to see, but the rest I figure out as I go along, including all hotels, and travel arrangements. Sometimes when I fly into a city that is new to me and I'm not comfortable with, or it's a holiday, I will book my first night hotel. After that, I like to think about general areas that I would like to be in for a certain time frame. For example, when I went to India my plan was: 1st month - go north; 2nd month Rajasthan; 3rd month center; 4th the East; 5-6th the South. After that, I would decide 2 or 3 days in advance where I wanted to go next just so I could book my next train ticket. I would find hotels when I arrived in the next town.
This is the kind of travel that gets me excited. I find it more interesting, adventurous, and waaayyy less stressful. I don't worry about anything - just go with the flow.

But, as I said, everyone travels different. I know many people who could never handle going anywhere without researching the perfect hotel and having every minute planned. Others could never think of roaming a city solo, want someone to book everything for them, and hence, join a tour. I've done this style of traveling too, and though it's not my preferred method, I do recognize some pros - the biggest being that you meet lots of people, and you can consider it more of a holiday.

5. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 230 posts) 46w

Quoting Degolasse

Everyone travels differently, and like the other's have said, for me it depends on how long I'm traveling.

So true! It also depends on what activities you plan to do too. I've just come back from seven weeks in South America but we had to book the Inca trail and Huayna Picchu in advance because tickets up HP are limited to just 400 per day. So this was between Christmas and New Year and therefore right in the very middle of the seven weeks. We planned it but with some wiggle-room so that we could stay a day or so longer at various places if we wanted to (we stayed a day longer in La Paz to go to a football match - awesome!) before the Inca trail but afterwards it was quite tight because of flights from Lima to Quito, Quito to the Galapagos and then our return flight home (planned because of a fixed date to return to work). On the trip we met lots of travellers who had six months, a year and one guy who was travelling for two years who drifted around and decided to stay in a place or not on a whim - great if you have the time!

In this age, laptops, iPads and mobile phones make the changing of plans and airtickets much easier.

However you want to travel - enjoy the experience.

6. Posted by Mrworldwide (First Time Poster 1 posts) 46w

The beginning is the hardest my friend! Especially going as a family . But when you are all done it is all good! Yes you have to plan.....plan to the T! Traveling is not a big bang theory or the amazing race... it is an art. You don't wanna end up in the hands of a pirate in Somalia , or do you?

i should add, traveling is one of the best experiences life has to offer! So you better be wild about it, life is too short!

Now mercy is at home

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

7. Posted by bradanddeb (Full Member 1 posts) 45w

Hey, my wife and I traveled around the world for the year of 2011, joined at the hip so to speak. The first seven months I had all the plane tickets paid for and all the hotels reserved. For us, this worked fine. We traveled at a somewhat leisurely pace, more than enough time to smell the flowers, but we kept moving. Our schedule when we started was to travel around the world , in a year. By buying tickets in advance, we were forced to keep the schedule. We realized we weren't going to see everything, but we would see a lot in a year. The schedule got us started, once we were out there, we could decide when to come home. It all worked out.
Happy travels.

8. Posted by darrenesl (Budding Member 34 posts) 45w

I agree with most that is posted here. Plan the essentials: flights, a place to stay in some cites where needed and a general route. After that, have the things to do listed for yourself and a way to contact (phone, tablet, etc.) and book things as you go.

Make sure you know what you want to achieve before you go and it will be a whole lot smoother.

9. Posted by askgudmundsen (Respected Member 59 posts) 43w

I've done my share of longer trips (between 4-18 months) by now... My problem always seem to be planning... I really wanna be surprises and roll with it when I arrive somewhere... But with those really long trips you tend to know in what general directions you're heading well in advance...

And once I have 3-6 months in advance, in which I know I'm heading out, I'm simply too impatient, curious and excited to not research my destinations... It means that even though I plan nothing in advance (lately I've began insisting on travelling overland if at all possible - so I don't even need that first flight out in some occasions), I always know way too much about the places I'm ending up not to have a general idea about what's going on, what to see, where to go and all that...

I find it a rather nice middle ground between the two extremes of going completely unprepared - which too often means missing out on great places you didn't know about until you two weeks past a place - and travelling with a tight schedule robbing you for any flexibility once you've found a place or person you wanna spend more time in (pun intended), or is oh so stressful when scheduled travel plans go sour - and trust me, on long haul trips they usually will (the frequency will rise with the exoticness of the place)...

Cheers,
Ask

10. Posted by Rianda (Full Member 59 posts) 43w

My travels away only started in 2005 with a guided 5 week tour but now I prefer to organise it all myself. I start 12 months in advance, decide on the dates away so I can get work leave and then book the main 2 airfares - quite often FF flights. Make sure that you then have travel insurance. Start to work around these dates and fill in with the internal flights or train travel, then the accommodation, then research the area to see what tours you would like and make some of these bookings. I always make sure the accommodation and tours are paid in full before I leave Australia. When I leave the country all I require is my spending money and some extra for food or petrol, this is why I start so far in advance and so far it has always worked. If there is an area of interest and you run out of time this is an excuse to return at a later date. You only live once so travel and experience as much as possible while you can.

Cheers Rianda